Date: Sep 18, 2006

Forwarding e-mails

protecting your own and other people's privacy

Do you really know how to forward E-mails correctly to protect the privacy of those to whom you addressing? About 50% of us do; 50% DO NOT.

Do you wonder why you get viruses or junk mail? Do you hate it? Every time you forward an E-mail, there is information left over from the people who got the message before you, namely their E-mail addresses & names . As the messages get forwarded along, the list of addresses builds, and builds, and builds, and all it takes is for some poor sap to get a virus, and his or her computer can send that virus to every E-mail address that has come across his computer. Or, someone can take all of those addresses and sell them or send junk mail to them in the hopes that you will go to the site and he will make five cents for each hit. That's right, all of that inconvenience over a nickel! How do you stop it? Well, there are two easy steps:

  1. When you forward an E-mail, DELETE all of the other addresses that appear in the body of the message (at the top). That's right, DELETE them.High light them and delete them, backspace them, cut them, whatever it is you know how to do. It only takes a second.You MUST click the "Forward" button first and then you will have full editing capabilities against the body and headers of the message. If you don't click on "Forward" first, you won't be able to edit the message at all.
  2. Whenever you send an E-mail to more than one person, DO NOT use the To: or Cc: columns for adding E-mail address. Always use the Bcc: (blind carbon copy) column for listing the E-mail addresses. This is the way that people you send to only see their own E-mail address. If you don't see your Bcc: option, click on where it says To: and your address list will appear. Highlight the address and click on the Bcc: block and that's it.  It's that easy. When you send to Bcc: your message will automatically read "Undisclosed Recipients" in the "To:" field of the people who receive it.
  3. Remove any "Fw:" in the subject line. You can re-name the subject more relevantly if you wish or even fix spelling errors.  However, avoid altering the original message content.
  4. ALWAYS hit your Forward button from the actual E-mail you are reading. Ever get those E-mails that you have to open 10 pages to read the one page with the information on it? By Forwarding from the actual page you wish someone to view, you stop them from having to open many E-mails just to see what you sent.

Have you ever gotten an E-mail that is a petition? It states a position and asks you to add your name and address and to forward it to 10 or 15 people or your entire address book. The email can be forwarded on and on and can collect thousands of names and E-mail addresses. A FACT: The completed petition is actually worth a couple of bucks to a professional spammer because of the wealth of valid names and email addresses contained therein. Many of these online e-mail petitions circulate for years before they reach you. Even if they were legitimate to begin with, the person may already be safe or dead. However much it may break your heart, don't sign a petition like this unless there is an website with recent information on the subject. Even in that case a website can easily be created for a fake cause as a method of getting e-mailadresses. Still, if you want to support the petition, send it as your own personal letter to the intended recipient. Your position may carry more weight as a personal letter than a laundry list of names and E-mail address on a petition. 

So please, in the future, let's stop the junk mail and the viruses.

Finally, here's an idea!!! Let's send this to everyone you know. This is something that SHOULD be forwarded.